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4) People of the Philippines vs. Lagon (185 SCRA 332, 1990)
Feliciano, J HELD:
1. Jurisdiction
RECIT READY:  Section 87 of the Judiciary Act of 1984 indicates the subject matter jurisdiction of
Criminal information was filed against petitioner Lagon for committing estafa in the municipal and city courts in criminal cases in 1975 and 1976
city court of Roxas City; however, it was dismissed on the ground of lack of o Municipal judges has the same jurisdiction as Court of First Instance to try
jurisdiction without prejudice of re-filing the case. The court did not err in parties charged with an offense within their respective jurisdiction
dismissing the information because the jurisdiction of the court is measured by the o With the penalty by law that does not exceed prision correccional or
law in effect at the commencement of the filing of criminal action. At the time the imprisonment of not more than 6 years or a fine not exceeding P6,000 or
criminal information was filed RPC was amended by PD 818 increasing the penalty both
of estafa. This rule does not violate the rule of retroactivity of penal laws because  At the time of the commission of offense charged, the penalty was arresto mayor in
the jurisdiction of the court is not determined by the penalty during or after the its maximum period to prision correccional in its minimum period. Hence, it was
trial but on the basis of the facts in the complaint or information. within the jurisdiction of the City Court of Roxas City
 However, at the time of the institution of the criminal prosecution, the penalty had
DOCTRINE: increased by P.D. 818 (effective Oct 1975) to prision mayor in its medium period
The subject matter of jurisdiction of court in criminal law matter is measured by the  SEE DOCTRINE
law in effect at the time of the commencement of the criminal action, not by the o Following the rule, Court of First Instance of Roxas City has jurisdiction
commission of the offense. over the case

FACTS: 2. Rule of Retroactivity of penal laws

 1976, A criminal information was filed with the City Court of Roxas City  This is in relation to Article 22 of the RPC which permits penal laws to have a
charging private respondent Libertidad Lagon with the crime of estafa under retroactive effect only insofar as they favor the person guilty of felony, who is not a
paragraph 2(d) of Article 315 of the RPC. habitual criminal
 According to the information, the accused allegedly issued a check amounting  In criminal prosecutions, jurisdiction of the court is not determined by what may be
to P4,232.80 as payment for goods purchased knowing that she did not have a meted out to the offender after trial, or by the result of the evidence that would be
sufficient funds to cover the check. Hence, it bounced. presented during trial but by the extent of which the penalty which the law
 The trial and prosecution commenced the presentation of evidence. imposes, together with other legal obligations, on the basis of facts are recited in
 However, the city court dismissed the information on the ground that the the complaint or information
penalty prescribed by law for the offense charged was beyond the court’s  Once the jurisdiction is acquired by the court in which the information is filed, it is
authority to impose. The judge further held that the jurisdiction of the court to retained regardless whether the evidence proves a lesser offense than that charged
try the criminal action is determined by the law in force at the time of the in the information
institution of the action not at the commencement of the crime  Thus, it is possible that even after the trial, a penalty lesser than the maximum
o Commission of Crime (April 1975) – Jurisdiction by law in the city imposable under the statute is proper under the specific facts and circumstances
Court proven at the trial.
o Commencement of the Action (July 1976) – RPC amended and  This means that a lesser penalty may be imposed by the trial court even if the
penalty imposed on the crime of estafa increased. Hence, beyond reduced penalty falls within the exclusive jurisdiction of an inferior court, provided
the jurisdiction of City Court that it had subject-matter jurisdiction of an inferior court.
 The case was dismissed without prejudice of re-filing the case
 Hence this petition for review by the People of the Philippines assailing the PETITION IS DENIED.
order of the court to dismiss the action on the ground of lack of jurisdiction

1. Whether the court erred in dismissing the petition on the ground of lack of
jurisdiction? NO
2. If yes, would it disregard the rule of retroactivity of penal laws? NO